John Calipari gave Kentucky basketball players a chance to offer Arkansas a job


Former Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is reportedly set to become the next coach at Arkansas – but not without apparently checking in with the Wildcats first.

Dick Gabriel, A sideline reporter for the UK Sports Network reported Monday that Calipari gave Kentucky the chance to make a counteroffer to the deal he received from Arkansas, which Kentucky and athletic director Mitch Barnhart rejected.

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“When Calipari went into that meeting with Mitch Barnhart, he didn’t have a lot of influence,” Gabriel reported Monday in the Kentucky Edition. “Mitch had the leverage. But now that you have someone on your side who is a suitable candidate for your services. I mean, if it was a junior college that came to recruit him, no, but that's Arkansas. Powerful school with big, deep pockets and all kinds of funding out there. Tyson Chicken and Wal-Mart. They come in and say, “We want you and we’ll do whatever it takes to get you.” That’s leverage.

“The way I was told, Calipari said, 'Here's what it takes to keep me,' and Britain said, 'I don't believe that.' As I understand it now, if the deal (with Arkansas) doesn't happen, it will happen. You have a fan base that is unhappy, an institution that is not happy with what happened. There is another school that would be happy to have him. If you get the fans involved, this could be a win-win-win situation if such a thing is possible. Of course, this all depends on who Kentucky hires if and when Calipari actually leaves.”

According to multiple reports Sunday night, Calipari accepted the coaching position at Arkansas left by Eric Musselman, who left the Razorbacks for USC. As for why Calipari didn't confirm he was taking the job at Arkansas, he announced Tuesday that he was moving from Kentucky, where he had coached since 2009.

Gabriel then listed potential candidates for the current Wildcats coach's position, including Baylor's Scott Drew, Florida's Todd Golden and Iowa State's TJ Otzelberger. Gabriel also reported that Kentucky will have UConn's Dan Hurley turn down the job. Alabama's Nate Oats was also a candidate, according to Gabriel, although after Gabriel's initial report, Oats said he would remain at Alabama as of Monday night.

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Kentucky's John Calipari announces departure from program

Calipari announced Tuesday that he is leaving Kentucky Basketball. Here is the full clip: